Pain Reduction

A World Health Organization review of clinical trials found that for “traumas such as sprains, acupuncture is not only useful for relieving pain without the risk of drug dependence, but may also hasten recovery by improving local circulation.”  Acupuncture can also relieve postoperative pain and provide analgesic effects during operations.

A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was superior to sham and no-acupuncture control for various chronic pain conditions, including chronic headache, back and neck pain and osteoarthritis.

  • Vickers, A. et al., Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis, Arc Intern Med, 2012; 172(19): 1444-53.


A single blind study investigated whether needling of specific acupuncture points could increase physical performance capacity and better regulation of heart rate and blood pressure.  Thirty-six subjects were divided into three groups, and the group receiving acupuncture increased maximum performance capacity and physical performance at the anaerobic threshold, while the placebo acupunctures group and the control group, which received no treatment, did not show noticeable effect.

  • Ehrlich, D and Haber, P., Influence of Acupuncture on Physical Performance Capacity and Haemodynamic Parameters, Int J Sports Med., 1992; 13(6): 486-91.

A case study found that acupuncture improved in exercise capacity.  A 30 year old, sedentary male received acupuncture treatments for 10 consecutive days and refrained from exercise training during the treatment period.  His VO2, peak ventilation, and O2 pulse all improved after the course of treatment.


A randomized controlled clinical trial found that acupuncture improved sleep quality and daytime functioning in patients with primary insomnia.  The improvements were greatest for the group receiving true acupuncture plus placebo medication as compared groups receiving sham acupuncture plus placebo or sham acupuncture plus Estazolam (a benzodiazepine medication used to treat insomnia).


A study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center and published in the Journal of Endocrinology found that stress hormones were lower in rates receiving electronic acupuncture.  The test measured blood hormone levels secreted by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland (the “HPA” axis”) and revealed that electronic acupuncture blocks chronic, stress-induced elevations of HPA axis hormones.

  • Eshkevaria, L, Permaul, E & Mulroney, S., Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat, J Endocrinol, 2013, 217, 95-104.


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